Knot Tying Board

Recently the girls became very interested in P1010620knot tying, which has resulted in ribbon and rope tied from one piece of furniture to another.  Their aunt and Nana both gave the girls scarves this Christmas but the girls seem to think they got bigger pieces of rope.

We love the fact that they are learning to tie knots and the finger dexterity it builds, but we were getting a bit frustrated with them trying to tie everything.  It had gotten a bit out of control when Ed tried to leave the bathroom and they had tied the door shut.

P1010881In order to contain but encourage the tying Ed made these knot tying boards for the girls.  We bought a 2×2 piece of birch 1/2 inch thick cut to a square foot. (To make this project super easy we even had Lowes cut the board for us in fourths for us since we needed to make two and do some other projects).  Ed also sanded the boards and the edges.

 

We then chose a bunch of differentP1010880 fixtures to put on the boards.  We let the girls help pick out items and tried to do a variety.  This is where the project can get pricey if you aren’t careful.  And then we also picked out different kinds of rope that were a variety of thickness and texture.

 

P1010885To finish the board, Ed used the Dremel to trim down some of the screws poking through the back.  We then used PlastiDip to seal up the back.  I recommend the liquid form that you paint on or dip into as opposed to the spray on one.  We first used the spray on PlastiDip and it came out in clumps, which is why you can still see some bumpy parts.  But the pure liquid that Ed painted on went on very smoothly.

This project has been a really big hit with the girls. Our rule for the rope is that it stays with the boards which has really helped keep the random knot tying down. And, of course, this is one of those activities we supervise more carefully since they are playing with long pieces of rope. 🙂

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Desert Bingo

Right now we are studying the desert so I wanted to share the Desert Bingo game we’ve been playing.  The girls really like finding the different plants and animals on the board.  We’ve played just the three of us and with our preschool co-op group.

Click here for Desert Bingo cards

I made 12 different boards with the same 16 pictures.  To call out the different items, I just printed out an extra board that I cut into pieces to draw out of a bag.  And for bingo markers, I just punched out a bunch of circles with my scrapbooking tools.

Other Games

Besides Bingo you can also use the boards to play other desert games.  To first practice their plants and animals, I cut one of the boards into picture cards and had the girls match the cards to their game board.

We’ve also played memory using two boards cut into pieces.  Since I had already cut out two game boards to make them each a set of the picture matching game, we just combined the cards to make a memory game.

In addition to being fun, the game has also been really helpful.  On their nature walk with their dad yesterday, they pointed out a Saguaro and a prickly pear cactus.  That is actually why I included four different kinds of cacti instead of just putting one generic “cactus.”  I wanted the girls to be able to recognize the plants and animals around them so it seems to be working.

 

Peg Number Boards

I had seen these peg boards both in some Montessori books and on a teaching site and knew that we could make them ourselves for less money and not too much time.  (Of course by “we” I really mean my husband Ed.)  The great thing about the peg boards is that it allows the girls to learn the number symbols and concepts by discovering them on their own.

Supplies: board (1″x6″x6′), golf tees, vinyl numbers, drill, saw, sandpaper, sealant

We decided that the blocks only needed to be an inch high so we got a board that was 1″ and 6″ by 6′.  Ed cut the wood into blocks that were about 5 1/2 by 3 inches and we were able to make 20 blocks.  Next Ed drilled the holes into the bottom and then sanded the blocks down, including softening the edges and corners.

For the numbers, I used my cricut to cut them out of vinyl but you could also purchase a set of numbers to use or paint them on yourself.  Then for the pegs we just used a package of golf tees so that we didn’t have to cut or make any pegs ourselves.

I also covered the blocks in a sealant.  I usually use Mod Podge but this time had another one leftover from a previous project.  My main reason for covering them was to prevent the girls from being able to scratch the numbers off.

The blocks were sitting out on the kitchen table drying when the girls woke up in the morning.  As soon as they saw the blocks, Zoe and Mia climbed into their seats and started playing with them.  They have loved pushing the pegs in and counting as they go.  They are having fun and learning so I would say that these have been a big hit for us.

All told we spent about $10 to make 2 sets of 10 blocks.  Luckily we had most of the supplies already and really only had to purchase the board and golf tees so for us it was far more cost effective to make them ourselves.  And it was all done in an afternoon.  But if you don’t want to make them yourself, here are some sets you could purchase.

Measuring Hands

While talking about our bodies this past week, we did this fun math and science activity, Measuring Hands. We traced the girls hands and used them to make measuring tapes. The goal was to get the girls to start understand concepts such as units of measurements and size comparisons by using something tangible that they could understand like their own hand. I got the idea from activities in the book Science is Simple.

Mia attempting to measure her rocking horse

Ahead of time I traced the girls hands and then used those as templates to make multiple hands out of colored construction paper. I knew I wanted to laminate just the hands to create a strip.  It was a little tricky but I took the 8 1/2 x 11 size laminating pouches and trimmed off the top so that I could connect multiple sheets together.

I taped the sheets together with just a little bit of tape in the middle so that it wouldn’t show up in the strips too much.  And I overlapped the sheets by about 1/2 cm.  To help keep the whole thing together I used a clear glue stick and glued the hands to the bottom laminating sheet.  And sometimes I even used a little glue to keep the top sheets in place.

We made the strips long enough to measure their height and larger items around the house.  I recommend also making a smaller strip of about 3 hands to introduce the concept and measure smaller items like their feet.

Zoe measuring the seat of her rocking horse. This is one time a smaller strip would definitely be useful.

 

I’m Special Dolls

This was a great way to connect our themes of “I am Special” and Our Bodies.  We got the silhouettes from Michaels craft store.  The girls described themselves to me.  I wrote their words on the people and then they colored them.  I found it interesting to see how the girls thought of themselves, although it was a little difficult to explain adjectives.  This is something I think will be fun to do again in the future every so often to see how their descriptions change and even how their drawings change.

How did Mia describe herself? Smart; strong; brave; beautiful; little; nice; smart; loves, collections, flipping dolphins, seals, and Disneyland; funny; giggles; really strong person.

What did Zoe say about herself? God made me; smart; pretty; funny; beautiful; clever; lovey; good at making things; serious; loves to play with toys.

I also picked up a boy packet for our preschool co-op group.  When my friend Kendra (an awesome mama) led the group, she had the kids draw self-portraits on them as part of our self-awareness activities.

 

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